This past weekend the Fourth Annual Indiana Artisan Marketplace was held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. For two days, over 150 Indiana Artisans set up shop inside the Expo Hall to share samples of their products, hang their art, and talk to people from all across the state about why they are an Indiana Artisan.
I shared some of my thoughts prior to the event, but now I can share the photos I took at the event along with the goodies I brought home.
One of the first faces I saw was Bryna and Ryan O’Neil of Sage’s Simple Syrups. While I was already a fan, that didn’t stop me from testing a few new flavors I had not tried before. There it was – Coffee Vanilla Bean. I was drawn to it like a bug heading for a pair of headlights. Rahul and I both love coffee and all of the ways in which it’s flavor is used, so naturally I was interested in a coffee vanilla syrup that could be poured over ice cream, used to soften up a stiff bourbon drink or just poured onto a spoon and devoured.
It’s a rainbow of syrups!
From there, Rahul and I traveled up the food artisans to find Carrie ofNewfangled Confections. Her booth was full of Frittle Candy, her new Buttermints, and even chocolate covered bacon (along with a lot of people). Carrie admitted that the chocolate covered bacon was not her favorite, but she makes it for a client and when she has leftovers she sells them. I told her it was the best business idea ever – but that’s coming from someone who could sniff out that chocolate covered bacon from a mile away!
People love Frittle Candy.
Indiana Artisans are not just foodies. They are also wood workers, metal workers, potters, sculptors, artists, painters and so much more.
This guy’s got some kind of steampunk slash comic book thing going on and I loved it. Too high for my price range but I couldn’t help but admire the craftsmanship of these pieces.
Next, we spotted a woman who creates the CUTEST monsters! Yes, I know, monsters aren’t supposed to be cute, but these guys are created to hang on a decorative tree or just bring color and spunk to your home. They remind me of the characters on the animated show AHH! Real Monsters (which you watched if you grew up in the early 90′s like I did). I want to know what this lady’s home looks like. I bet it’s pretty darn rad.
After more art dabbling, we wandered back into the food areas.
Fermenti Artisan is one of Rahul’s favorite local companies. Their kimchi is his favorite, though I cannot comment much because I did not try it. Don’t get me wrong, I love pickled goods as much as the next person, but I’m not a big fan of cabbage. Rahul also tried a few other things before walking away. While we were almost going to purchase a jar of kimchi, we made the mistake of not bringing enough cash on us, so we decided to pass, knowing that we could pick up a jar at City Market.
Fermenti Artisan was one of several vendors offering live demos. We were not around for theirs, but this cool set up told me that they were discussing the science of fermented vegetables.
Dad’s Favorites was on my list to visit at the marketplace and I was stoked to see that I could try any one of their awesome cheese spreads at their booth. Arranged from mild to spicy, I tried the Pimento cheese flavor, which was delicious, and then braved the spiciest of them all, a cheese spread made with a nitro stout. Surprisingly, I could handle the heat, so when it came to picking out which one we’d go home with, Rahul and I agreed on the spicy one. Go big or go home, right?
Not pictured: Blackberry Wine Cooking and Barbecue Sauce from Ole Ray’s Sauces that I purchased, because it tasted sweet with a hint of tomato and herb flavors and was just the right consistency for a sauce to cook in or dip in. While we love our favorite grocery store brands, we also enjoy trying new sauces and syrups. They frankly are just so time consuming to get right that I leave it up to the pro’s who bottle their secret ingredients for me to enjoy at home. I see us using this sauce on chicken (which makes it purple, so they told me), pulled pork, or even mixed with wine or beer for a braising liquid.
All in all, we left the Indiana Artisan Marketplace with happy tastebuds and a bag full of goodies we can enjoy at home. Of course, I already opened the bottle of Coffee Vanilla Bean syrup to put on some ice cream. Hey, what can I say, it was Sunday and I needed ice cream. We also took a dive into the spreadable cheese with some crackers, too. If events like this happened every weekend, I would be flat broke. Many thanks to the Indiana Artisans for creating such a fabulous event!